Friday, January 25, 2013

Gymboree's Answer to Our Letter

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dulay,

We received your letter today about your experience yesterday at Gymboree Magnolia.
We were saddened to hear that this incident bothered your family.  At Gymboree, we hold children in the highest regard and the mere thought of disappointing a child is very sad for us.

We are in agreement about the Gymboree philosophy and understand that we provide a positive environment for all young children that we always strive to achieve in our centers.  We train our teachers and staff and have the highest standards of behavior for everyone associated with our brand. It appears that we missed the mark this day, and for that I can only sincerely apologize for the experience that your family had at our site.

The Gymboree playscape is meant only for little children and for the safety of all children, we do try to cap the age of our playscape at the maximum of 60 months, whether a child has disability or not, since our playscape is not designed for kids above this age.  We usually (and as you mentioned did) offer the ArtsPlay experience in our classrooms which is an alternative we do offer for kids 5 and above.


We also sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding of our website regarding the age range of 0-5 year old for the playfloor which is actually up to 60 months old, and not beyond.  We will take immediate steps to ensure this is more clearly stated.

Once again, we are very sorry for the experience and we, ourselves, wish we could allow older children, too. We cannot take away her disappointment so please accept our small token of apology for your daughter and also as a token of thanks for bringing your child to Gymboree from an early age.  Our Bubble oodles will hopefully help her continue to experience Gymboree at your home.  Please let us know where we can deliver this for Patricia.

Please forgive us and know that we are moving forward to ensure that we show more compassion and empathy for disappointed children, and your child’s happiness is all that I can hope for.   Thank you for taking the time in providing prompt feedback.

Gymboree Philippines Management


This was sent to us by Ann Tan at 8:26pm tonight. We are glad that they read our letter and replied. We forgive them, but that's not enough. We just want them to re-train their staff and discuss Autism and what they'll do if this happens again. This doesn't happen everyday anyway.

This week is coincidentally the National Autism Awareness Week, and I hope that establishments especially those catering to kids be aware of the condition and be trained to be compassionate and understanding to kids with special needs and their families. That's all we were asking, nothing more.

3 comments:

  1. Dear Gymboree Philippines,
    You reply and write that you are "saddened" by this family's experience and you think your bubble oodles will appease Patricia?! Why don't you just post a big sign: "KIDS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS are NOT allowed and welcome". Your guideline and rules on age range should be altered. Kids with special needs are more often than not, born premature, underweight, have feeding problems and basically appear smaller that their age. By limiting them to your age limit, you are also limiting them their potential developments-physically, mentally, emotionally even socially! Don't you even know & understand that Gymboree is also a cheaper alternative to parents can't afford private therapy to ther kids? And by the way, who's counting their age by the months? - 60 months?!

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  2. Old issue but I just have to comment. For perspective, my brother who is older than I has autism. It was only when I was around 7 or 8 years old when I found out that my brother has special needs. Before then, I always thought it was "standard" to have a family member with autism. So I have been living with a person with autism for the past 35 years of my life, and we even went to the same school.

    Anyway, one thing I tell my family members is to lose the sense of entitlement when with my autistic brother. We cannot expect "normal" people to break rules for people with special needs. If a place or service is not accepting of people with special needs, then move along. It's just that we need to be accepting of people who do not understand autism. If we want understanding, we have to learn to give it too. Also, it would have been classier to simply let Ann Tan know about the problem privately. Not sure if Gymboree has some sort of protocol for special children, but if they don't then it would be selfish to demand that they break their rules for 1 child, may the child be autistic or not. Patricia was refused for being over age, not for having special needs.

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  3. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog. I completely understand what you're saying. We're not asking them to break the rules and let us stay there for the entire one hour. What we were asking was if they can just let her go inside, run for about 5-10 mins, just to satisfy her excitement as we already set her mind while we were on our way that she'll be playing there. I'm sure you know that kids with autism are very particular with their routine and once you change what she's expecting, they'll throw a tantrum or worse, a full meltdown. It would also be different if they told us in a better way. If they were more compassionate, the situation could've been more tolerable. Thanks a lot. Let's continue to advocate for our special angels.

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